DC 37 and nonprofit workers applaud signing of labor peace agreement

Following months of advocating on behalf of workers in the nonprofit sector, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido applauded the signing of Intro. 2252.

The bill, which Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law, requires city human services contractors to enter into labor peace agreements within 90 days of being awarded or renewing a city contract –affording the workers the ability to organize without interference from their employers. The new law represents a sea change in how labor unions can proceed in organizing and developing collective bargaining agreements with private sector and nonprofit organizations under contract with the city.

“Labor peace is now the law of the land – and it’s been a long time coming,” said Henry Garrido, executive director of DC 37. “Workers in the nonprofit social and human services sectors have been in crisis. They face dangerous working conditions, rising health care costs, low pay and extremely high turnover. They have been asking for the ability to organize without fear, and it has finally been granted. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson and the entire city council for standing up for these workers and doing what’s right.”

DC 37 members described how the new labor peace agreement would allow them to better serve their communities and improve conditions on the job.

“With the passage of the labor peace bill, employees finally have protection to have their voices heard without retaliation from management,” said Nickey-Anna Lerice, a teacher at a Head Start in Brooklyn, New York. “Employees finally will be able to have a seat at the table to negotiate better pay, better health insurance, better retirement plans, better benefit plans and a better work environment.”

Natasha Pasternack, a family counseling and case analyst at Kings County Supreme Court, Civil Term, said, “I am thrilled at the passage of labor peace legislation for human services workers. To borrow an adage: our working conditions are our clients’ healing conditions. The greater the say we have at work, the better ‘the work’ is going to be. This is a huge step toward a more equitable city. Taking care of the New Yorkers who take care of New Yorkers is a social justice issue.”

And Shai-Ann Hamilton added, “The labor peace agreement will allow educators like myself to organize for better working conditions, and in turn better classroom conditions for our students. I’m so thankful that the bill has passed and that now we can get to work to build a better city for the most vulnerable.”

Intro. 2252 was introduced by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson earlier this year and passed overwhelmingly.

Through its Private Sector Division, District Council 37 currently represents 20,000 workers in the nonprofit space, many of whom work at private agencies providing services such home health care, early childhood education and homeless outreach services.